Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994
The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994 were enacted at a time when there was a public outcry as result of the rapid rates of crime. As the problem was identified, the perception of the general public was that the Federal government was reluctant to act swiftly in curbing the increase of offense. In the year 1984-1990, the Congress passed four omnibus Federal Crime Bills that were designed to deal with the cases of crimes in the courts of law (Naic, 2011). There were many pending cases in the courts and serious criminals received lighter sentences, and the situation was getting out of control. However, the four bills were not effective in dealing with criminal cases as it was expected. Also, both the liberals and the conservatives disagreed at a time when they were mostly needed to co-operate in creating solutions to the problem. As a result, the conservatives favored Habeas Corpus for death row inmates and the Three Strikes Laws. On the contrary, the liberals supported the gun control system that was capable of preventing criminal behavior.
In setting the public agenda, the relevant authorities had their focus on the high rate of drug abuse and street violence. The main points in almost all political meetings during the early 1990s were the dangerous use of drugs and violence. Politicians used the two problems as their main political agendas as people were tired of both and wanted them resolved. As the government could not fully comprehend criminals, the public shifted their support to death penalties as a way of dealing with violent offenders. According to Beckett, the public opinion was way ahead of the political views in raising the alarm about the problem of crime and drug abuse (2012). The general assessment of the two catastrophes shaped their modern representation; hence, the government saw the need to come up with stiff laws to correct the vice. As a result, the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act were enacted, and various authorities were given the mandate to facilitate a smooth implementation of the law.
A few years before the policy formulation, a series of actions took place in the U.S. First, the California shooting that resulted in 101 deaths sparked mixed reactions from both the public and the government. These mass shootings, also known as Waco Siege; occurred in the year 1993 and it portrayed the increasing rates of high-profile cases of violent crimes. As a result, the Congress was forced to speed up the process of policy formulation and amendments to ascertain that the law covered all dimensions in dealing with crime. The law created a strict ban on the use of Federal Assault Weapons by civilians, and a majority of firearm holderst licenses were revoked (Beckett, 2012). All the states in the U.S were required to provide registries of criminal gangs, sexual offenders, and hate crimes.
During the process of policy implementation, the Congress passed various Acts to control and prevent crime. The Senators and House Representatives also played a role in passing it into law and formulating ways on how it was to be implemented. The authorities also passed into law a bill that was designed to deal with cases of fraud. The law was effective in curbing fraud cases that fleeced the elderly people of their hard-earned properties. They also amended the law to cater for the juveniles who were found guilty of committing serious crimes. Also, they tripled the sentences to criminals that were found culpable of using children to conduct crimes.
The events that preceded the policy evaluation included the prohibition of various activities such as the embezzling of public funds. Punishments for engaging in the prohibited activities were specified in section 1033 of the Act (BULjnULjdic-Meyer, 2016). The prohibitions were absorbed into laws in 1994, and liable fraudsters were prohibited from working with any of the insurance companies. However, the law provided written consent to allow some of the reformed offenders to work in the insurance business; but under strict supervision.
The Actions of the Executive
The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was an important tool for the executive arm of the government in various ways. The Executive consists of numerous agencies that function alongside the Federal system to ensure that criminals are wiped away from the public scene. The majority numbers of these agencies are effective in processing, charging, and convicting offenders who are proved beyond reasonable doubt to be guilty of the offenses. The Criminal Act of 1994 provided an avenue for the Executive to apprehending criminals and put them in correction facilities (Mcgrath, 2003). The major system in the justice system consists of police departments, courts, and correctional facilities. Since the work of the police is to maintain law and order, the agencies ensured that those who violated the provisions of the legislation in the Act of 1994 were held culpable for their actions. The court facilitated the process of the search for justice for both the criminals and the accused persons.
The Executive utilized the Criminal Act of 1994 is when the government funded the recruitment of about 100, 000 new police officers at the cost of $9.7 billion to enhance the operations against the vice (Beckett, 2012). The newly recruited officers were absorbed into the FBI, DEA, INS, and the CIA. Also, the Executive categorized the assault weapons as those that used more than ten rounds of ammunition magazines. Only specific authorities such as the army were allowed to handle assault weapons and anyone found in possession of these crude weapons was treated as a threat to the nationals security. The Federal proceeded in raising the standards for obtaining licensed firearm in an aim to shut the loopholes for criminal minds to gains access to the weapons. The Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act were of great significant to the Executive in its efforts to curb the problem of crime.
The Legislative arm was also on the frontline in ensuring the success of the enacted 1994 Criminal Law. The Legislative monitored the impacts of the newly passed laws and made the necessary amendments to enhance the war against crime in the U.S. The creation of street-level crime maps was essential in gauging the results of the Crime Control Act as the public was involved by challenging the performances of the police (Stinson, 2004). The establishment of the National Referral Mechanism simplified work for the policing agencies to cooperate with each other in fabricating the fight against crime. The agencies were allowed to share information about potential victims, access devices belonging to suspected criminals, and conducting house arrest for sensitive criminal cases.
Lastly, the Judiciary provided insights about the sections that needed modifications to ensure that the Law did not conflict the other existing laws such as the Human Rights Act. For instance, it separated the criminal cases for adults and juveniles to ensure that the two groups were charged fairly. Minors above the age of 13 were eligible to answer to accusations of serious crimes as they were rega4rde4d as responsible for their actions (Palmioto, 2001). However, those below the age of 13 were pardoned and any adult found liable for the crimes committed by these children were charged with the crime of felony. Also, the judiciary provided the victims of crime with the opportunity to testify against their offenders in a court of law. Initially, suspected criminals were charged without the tribunal hearing the victims' stories and often; they were acquitted of the committed crimes due to insufficient evidence. Conclusively, the 1994 Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act played a major role in shaping the society into a better one.
Beckett, K. (2012). Setting the Public Agenda: "Street Crime" and Drug Use in American Politics.T University of California Press,41(03), 425-447. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3096971.
BULjnULjdic-Meyer, D. (2016). Ltascension des conservateurs et le traitement de la dULjlinquance aux Utats-Unis: Le Cas du Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994).T Crime, Histoire & SociULjtULjs,T (Vol. 20, nTA2). doi:10.4000/chs.1674
N. (2011). Guidelines for State Insurance Regulators to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.T National Association of Insurance Commissioners,T 1-80. Retrieved from http://www.naic.org/documents/prod_serv_legal_sir_op.pdf
Mcgrath, R. D. (2003). A Violent Birth: Disorder, Crime, and Law Enforcement, 1849t1890.T Taming the ElephantPolitics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California,T 27-68. doi:10.1525/california/9780520234116.003.0002
Palmiotto, M. J. (2001). The 1994 violent crime control and law enforcement act: An evaluation.T The Justice Professional,10(4), 407-414. doi:10.1080/1478601x.1998.9959479
Stinson, P. (2004). Police Corruption, Street-Level.T Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America. doi:10.4135/9781452274461.n136
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